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Worth watching

Being away from my desk for four days means I have a great deal to catch up on.
It is not surprising that news doesn’t stop for the holidays. There was even a message left on my telephone yesterday.

After I had shut down on Wednesday came word of the combination of Bowers and Merena Auctions with Stack’s.

While neither operation could be described as small, the combination gives them additional competitive size when compared to Heritage, which has been the big dog in the numismatic pack for a long time.

Not long after I first became a professional in the hobby more than three decades ago, there were usually four or five firms that ran neck and neck in terms of auction sales.

Those annual totals usually ran around $20 million each. These days the numbers have grown far, far larger and a single good auction can surpass the old annual totals – sometimes by several multiples.

It will be interesting to see how consigners view this new combined entity. It starts off with a strong franchise with the American Numismatic Association official auctions. What other steps will it take to grow?

What impact, if any, will this have on Heritage’s upward trajectory?

That’s what makes numismatics so interesting. As much as there is that is the same and comfortable, the hobby as a whole continues to evolve and that is worth watching.